During the workweek, you may feel like you don’t have the time or energy to throw together a balanced dinner. The good news is, a nutritious home-cooked meal does not have to be overly involved. Keep it simple by using just a few ingredients that pack taste and nutrition.
Here are four dinner recipes with three main ingredients or less. (This does not include pantry staples like salt, pepper, garlic or olive oil.) And the best part? The recipes feature basic fall favorites that you probably have on hand. This means less time spent shopping.
Broccoli & Cheese Pasta
Makes 2 servings
Prep: 5 min Cook: 20 min
4 oz uncooked legume or bean-based pasta
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp minced garlic
1½ cups broccoli florets (fresh or frozen)
2 oz Parmesan cheese
Pepper to taste
Bring 4 to 6 quarts of water to a rolling boil. Add pasta and stir gently. Return to a boil. For al dente pasta, cook uncovered for 9 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cook for 1 additional minute for a more tender pasta. Carefully drain water and set aside pasta.
Heat olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté for 1-2 minutes. Defrost broccoli (if using frozen) and then add broccoli and sauté for 3 minutes. Add pasta and continue to cook for another 2-3 minutes. Top with Parmesan cheese and season to taste with pepper.
Serving size: About 2 cups
Calories: 391; Total fat: 12 g; Saturated fat: 6 g; Sodium: 521 mg; Cholesterol: 19 mg; Total carbs: 38 g; Fiber: 7 g; Sugars: 3 g; Protein: 25 g; Potassium: 758 mg
For a legume-based pasta, check out Banza, Tolerant or Explore Cuisine brands of pasta.
Roasted Chicken & Butternut Squash
Makes 4 servings
Prep: 15 min Cook: 30 min
3-4 lb whole chicken, quartered
2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
½ tsp salt, divided
¼ tsp ground black pepper, divided
4 cups cubed raw butternut squash (about 2 medium squash)
1 tsp dried sage
3 Tbsp water
Preheat the oven to 450°F. Coat chicken with 1 tablespoon olive oil, ¼ teaspoon salt and ⅛ teaspoon pepper. Place chicken skin side up on a rimmed baking sheet. Combine squash with remaining oil, salt, pepper and the sage until coated. Add to the baking sheet and place in the oven.
Roast until the chicken is almost done—about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and spoon off any visible fat. Return the sheet to the oven and roast until the chicken is golden and a thermometer inserted in the thickest part (not touching the bone) reaches 165°F—about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven again and carefully pour off remaining fat from the juices. Before plating, remove the skin from the chicken.
Serving size: 1 piece of chicken and about 1 cup butternut squash
Calories: 332; Total fat: 15 g; Saturated fat: 3 g; Sodium: 391 mg; Cholesterol: 97 mg; Total carbs: 17 g; Fiber: 3 g; Sugars: 3 g; Protein: 33 g; Potassium: 764 mg
If you want to save time, pick up a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store. Adding green beans or another vegetable would be a tasty addition to this meal.
Roasted Spaghetti Squash With Turkey Meat Sauce
Makes 2 servings
Prep: 10 min Cook: 50 min
1 small spaghetti squash
1 Tbsp + 2 tsp olive oil
Salt and pepper
½ lb lean ground turkey
2 cups marinara sauce
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and then lightly drizzle with 1 Tablespoon olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Place facedown on a baking sheet and place in the oven for about 45 minutes—you should be able to easily pierce a fork through the sides.
While the squash is roasting, add 2 teaspoons of olive oil to a pan over medium heat. Add the ground turkey and begin to cook, stirring occasionally to break up the chunks, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Turn heat to low and add the marinara sauce. Continue to cook on low until the sauce is warmed through.
Pull squash out of the oven and, using a fork, begin to scrape, pulling the squash away from the outside skin. Place the scrapped squash on a plate and top with meat sauce.
Serving size: About 2 cups (squash and sauce)
Calories: 379; Total fat: 16 g; Saturated fat: 2 g; Sodium: 678 mg; Cholesterol: 70 mg; Total carbs: 30 g; Fiber: 6 g; Sugars: 14 g; Protein: 32 g; Potassium: 363 mg
Roasted Red Pepper Soup With White Beans & Spinach
Makes 2 servings
Prep: 5 min Cook: 10 min
32 oz low-sodium roasted red pepper soup (store-bought)
15 oz can white beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups fresh spinach
Add red pepper soup to a saucepan and cook over medium heat until it begins to simmer. Add white beans and spinach to the pan, stir and simmer until the spinach begins to wilt. Remove from heat and serve.
Serving size: About 3 cups
Calories: 367; Total fat: 4 g; Saturated fat: 3 g; Sodium: 737 mg; Cholesterol: 10 mg; Total carbs: 68 g; Fiber: 19 g; Sugars: 35 g; Protein: 15 g; Potassium: 467 mg